Sports exploits of the amazing Steadman children.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
GM Panthers Finish Arctic Ice Tourney Unbeaten -- Win Championship -- Claim Trophy
Tuesday was the big day: a re-match against the Panthers' toughest opponent yet, the Arctic Ice Blackhawks. "We had beaten them on Sunday morning, so we knew they would be pissed off," said defenseman Sarah Steadman. "It was sure to be a good test." As it turned out, it was a true classic.
As the two teams arrived at the rink for the final skate, the trophies were already displayed. "Wow, a first place trophy and a second place trophy, so we get a trophy no matter what!" said a teammate. "We don't want no second place trophy," shot back Steadman. "Second place is for the first losers. We only want the big one."
Coach Tony Bertuca fielded the same line he has used to start most of his recent wins: Gio Gulino at center with Mike Sliwsinski and Frankie Bertuca up front; Steadman and Maggie VanErmen on defense with goalie regular Sebastian Hanulik between the pipes. The game started where Sunday's match left off, with plenty of hard play, tight defense, and a few slashes by the Blackhawks against Panther legs when the referees were conveniently looking away. Then, two minutes into the first period, the Hawks scored on a nice breakaway to make it 1-0 and put the Panthers down for only the second time in the tournament. "The scored first in our prior game too," said Steadman. "They are tough. They come out and punch you right in the nose, and you have to respond."
The Panthers got their first of three powerplays early in the second, when the Hawks were called for slashing at 7:07 to go. They failed to convert, but Sliwsinski scored shortly thereafter and CJ Kruger added another off the second line and so by 5:20 in the second period the Panthers led 3-1. But the Hawks responded, scoring two quick goals at 1:48 and 1:27 in the second to even the score at 3.
Then Bertuca loaded his front line, moving Sammy Holy to forward with Gulino and Sliwinski with Steadman and VanErmen on defense. "That's his best five," was the comment overheard in the stands. "Can't miss." The line failed to score, but the strategy worked perfectly as the tired out the Hawks. The next line held the score, and then Gulino found the net again on his next shift, scoring with just 3:18 to play.
The Hawks now ride a 9-game streak back into regular season play, facing the Leafs on Saturday at the Leaf Center in West Dundee.